I remember when I got to decide what the kids wore on Halloween — when I could plop my chunky baby boy into a bumblebee costume or tape an angel’s halo on the bald head of my baby girl. Of course, the costumes rarely outlasted the photo session, but so what? Babies don’t care about costumes or Halloween. They just want to be comfortable and are probably completely flummoxed by us silly adults who want to dress them up and flash blinding lights in their eyes.
Unfortunately, the time of parents’ choice of costumes disappears quickly. As soon as the kids became aware, particularly of what their peers in the hood were planning to don for trick-or-treating, they started the planning and scheming. I swear my kids have talked more to me about their costume plans over the past few years than almost any other subject. Santa Claus just might beat out Halloween costumes in their talking points, though only by about 5 column inches.
My kids spend months planning what to wear for Halloween. Actually, I think they start thinking about the next Halloween on Nov. 1.
This year, I decided to see if I could influence their choices a bit. First, I offered the idea that one of them wear an Obama mask and the other wear a McCain mask, and we see who gets the most candy. I figure that would be as reliable a predictor of the next president as any poll.
They liked the idea initially, but then fought about who would get to be Obama. While I think McCain looks pretty good for his age, to my kids, he looks older than Santa Claus. And they both intuit that McCain is nowhere near as fun as the Jolly Old Elf. Or as fun as Obama. Not that fun-ness should be a criterion for electability, but my kids just prefer the guy who looks like he could go for a romping game of monster chase.
Then my girl offered a new option. She decided that she could go as Obama and the boy could dress up as Sarah Palin. I own a black wig that’s pretty Palinesque. Finding a kid-sized Chanel suit could be a problem, though. But the boy nipped that one in the bud — he’s not at the age where he gets that cross-dressing can be funny. In fact, he was age-appropriately horrified by the idea. Ultimately, we let go of political Halloween. After all, we figure we’ll get enough of that in the days after the holiday.
I also told the kids that we weren’t spending cash on Halloween costumes this year — in other words, no new accessories. Costumes can either come out of the existing costume stash, or we can create them ourselves with the multiplying piles of art supplies that live in the basement. The kids have been surprisingly OK with this restriction, especially after I cleaned out the girl’s closet and found a cache of costumes that’d been moldering inside a suitcase for a couple of years.
Ultimately, the girl, a huge Harry Potter fan, decided to dress up as the character Hermione. It’s easy — all she needs is a black cape and a wand, both of which we found in the stash. She already has Hermione’s hair down (at least from the first movie — tangled and frizzy), and she has the personality as well. “I’m smart and feisty just like Hermione,” she says.
The boy adopted a red Power Ranger costume that the girl wore a couple of years back, which came to us from a neighbor, I think. All he wants are superpowers and the chance to carry some kind of weapon, even if it’s made out of foam. He’s more changeable than the girl, however, and liable at the last minute to say, “Mom, where’s that Obama mask you said you’d get me?”
Then I’ll have to remind him we decided against both politics and spending money, and I’ll have to distract him with something cool that he can use to transform himself from a 7-year-old boy into someone or something more powerful.
Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.